Essay on What is Intelligence?

1023 Words 5 Pages
The concept of intelligence is not generally considered to be controversial. However, it is an idea that can be very tricky to define. Different psychologists have come up with several different theories to answer the question "What is intelligence?", and, though they overlap, there is no universally accepted definition. Additionally, because it is difficult to quantitatively measure intelligence, the connotation of the word “intelligence” must be taken into account in the definition. A possible definition of intelligence is "the ability to excel in a certain area that involves rational thought." Because excellence is subjective, it is important to note that this definition requires that a comparison be used. For instance, an …show more content…
It is expected that the average person has a certain mental capacity; anything above this standard should be considered in the range of achieving excellence, so can be considered in the realm of intelligence. It cannot be argued that there are people who excel in different areas than others. For example, a mechanic who knows cars inside and out has a totally different skill set than an English professor; their subjects are not related at all, but, because of their proficiency in each of their own areas, they can both be described as intelligent people. They are merely intelligent in different ways. The issue with the aforementioned definitions is that they do not take into account the idea that different people can be equally intelligent, just in different areas. Even Alfred Binet, the psychologist responsible for the creation of the original intelligence quotient (IQ) test, cautioned people that the concept of intelligence is too vast to be quantified into one number based on a very generalized test (Cherry). Louis L. Thurstone (born 1887) is known for his view of intelligence in terms of seven "primary mental abilities", which are "verbal comprehension, reasoning, perceptual speed, numerical ability, word fluency, associative memory," and "spatial visualization" (Cherry). Psychologist Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences, which is very similar to Thurstone's idea in that it

Related Documents